Northern Victorian and southern Riverina farmers take home top hay awards

By Rodney Woods

Farmers from Kyabram, Corowa, Mulawa and Bunnaloo have been awarded national titles as part of Feed Central's 2019-20 National Hay Quality Awards.

Announced during a Feed Central hay market outlook webinar held on July 23, Kyabram farmer Sam Thompson was the only Victorian to take out a national title as he was acknowledged for making the best looking lucerne hay in Australia.

Mr Thompson, who farms with his brother Jake, won the Victorian and Australian titles for the best lucerne hay visual test.

He also won the Victorian lucerne feed test category.

Across the NSW-Victoria border, Mulwala's Lochie Donald was successful in the national best lucerne feed test category, Scott Collins, of Corowa, was awarded the best cereal visual test award and Jerome Shirley, of Bunnaloo, won the best vetch visual test category.

Brothers Sam and Jake Thompson, who were recognised with a national title at Feed Central's 2019-20 National Hay Quality Awards.

Previous national and Victorian winner Josh Lanyon, from Boort, won two state awards for the best visual cereal (barley) and vetch hay, while Picola's Russell Byrnes took out the best vetch feed test award at the Victorian level.

Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said the winners had "gone above and beyond to produce excellent hay during a period of extreme drought across much of the country".

“Despite gigantic demand, these producers still focused on making a quality product even though the market was willing to buy any quality at the time,” Mr Ford said.

“It was very tough in many areas and while yields were down, quality was up and these growers deserve to be commended for that.”

The awards cover July 2019 to June 2020, including the peak hay production period of September and October 2019.